Mr. Jamal Arberry is an English instructor at Primavera Online High School who enjoys reading, cooking and volunteering at the Phoenix Zoo in his spare time.

Before helping students, Mr. Arberry was an active military member who served overseas.

Right after high school, Mr. Arberry went to North Carolina to join the Marine Corps. Although at first he joined so he could escape his small hometown, Mr. Arberry said that being a part of the military became something he was proud to have accomplished.

“The Marine Corps gave me the opportunity to acquire skills that benefitted me beyond what I did while I served,” said Mr. Arberry.

Mr. Arberry told us about a time when he was stationed in Zimboanga City, Japan in 2005. There, he made lasting friendships with the residents.
“I was attached with a Marine Security Element in which the mission was part of Operation Enduring Freedom- Philippines. Many people might not know that there are jihadist terrorist down in those parts.

One night, we were invited to an event in which the people of Zamboanga City wanted to show their appreciation for us, the U.S. military. We had the opportunity to mingle with the locals and we got to watch some native dances. A lot of the kids became particularly fascinated with me when they found out I was Filipino, so they wanted to take pictures with me.”

That event became a moment Mr. Arberry now treasures as he made lasting friendships with the people there.

“It was a really good time, especially for me,” Mr. Arberry said. “Because I was able to enjoy tons of food I was familiar with, like Filipino rice cakes and roasted pig on the spit.”
Upon his return to the United States, Mr. Arberry decided to become a teacher. He has since helped many students succeed, and believes in pushing them to be their best selves, as he told us in this story below.
“I had a student who told me she wanted to know what she can do to just pass her course, what she can do to get a D. I told her I will not accept that and she will have to strive higher than a D. I told her in order for me to help her she must be willing to put that effort into striving better than just a D. At the end of her course, she finished with a B+.”

When it comes to challenging yourself, there is one important thing Mr. Arberry wants you students to remember: Don’t be afraid to fail.

“There are those who hold back on doing things because they are afraid of what the result may be. There are those who are afraid because if they fail, they are worried of what others will say to them. Don’t let that bother you. It is okay to be selfish sometimes through life’s journey because as you start reflecting back on your life as you get older you want to be able to say, “Yeah, I did that,” and not “Gosh, I wish I would’ve done that.” As you continue through your life’s journey go and do good, make mistakes, make a fool of yourself every now and then, go and own opportunity and take all these experiences and become the great person you know you can be.”

We hope you all have a great Independence Day. As you celebrate this weekend, don’t forget to take some time to remember the people like Mr. Arberry who make this country’s freedom possible.